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Upstate is one of 39 institutions to share $2.2 million St. Baldrick's grant

Upstate is one of 39 institutions to share $2.2 million St. Baldrick's grant

Upstate’s portion of the grant totals $58,075 and is earmarked tosupport the Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders’ PediatricHematology/Oncology Clinical Research Program at Upstate GolisanoChildren’s Hospital and Upstate Cancer Center.

In addition to providing salary support for a second clinicalresearch assistant (CRA), it provides funding for educationalopportunities for the program’s two CRAs.

Having access to clinical trials is vital in the treatment of childhood cancers.

Nearly 80 percent of childhood cancer patients at Upstate GolisanoChildren’s Hospital are enrolled in a clinical trial, a numberconsistent with national trends.

“With the support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, we are able toadequately staff our clinical research program, making it possible toprovide the most up-to-date care to the children and teenagers in ourregion,” said Melanie Comito, MD, division chief of PediatricHematology/ Oncology and professor of pediatrics at Upstate GolisanoChildren’s Hospital.

According to the Children’s Oncology Group, an international researchorganization supported by the National Cancer Institute, survival ratesfor childhood cancer have risen from 10 to 80 percent over the last 50years. Outcomes in Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia have gone from asix-month median survival to an 85 percent overall cure rate. Inaddition to clinical trials, the Children’s Oncology Group is committedto looking at the biologic parameters of cancers and therapies.

“The care and treatment of children with cancer requires not only themedical expertise provided by doctors, nurses, and psycho-social staff,but the involvement of the community as a whole. The donors andvolunteers of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation are a great example of thiscommunity-based dedication,” said Comito.

Comito believes the St. Baldrick’s Foundation is an invaluableresource to the long-term goal of curing all children with cancer andthe short-term challenge of curing one child at a time, both of whichare dependent upon active multidisciplinary research and adequatefunding.

Caption: Melanie Comito, MD, is division chief of PediatricHematology/Oncology at the Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and BloodDisorders at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and Upstate CancerCenter.